Draining Flooded Aussie Mines Could Be Daunting

Australia’s flood-stricken coal industry faced lengthy disruptions, with one miner saying it could take weeks to drain its pits of water and a major port suspending export shipments because of a lack of coal.

Floods have swamped mines in Queensland state, paralyzing operations that produce 35 percent of Australia’s estimated 259 million tons of exportable coal. Australia contributes two-thirds of global coking-coal exports, needed to make steel.

About 200,000 people scattered across an area the size of France and Germanycombined have been affected by the flooding in Queensland. Damage from the floods, the worst in the state in 50 years, has been estimated at $5 billion.

One of Queensland’s two major coal ports, Gladstone, suspended exports on Thursday, starved of sufficient supplies from water-logged and marooned mines further inland.

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